Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Eating for Pregnancy

I just returned from a trip to Los Angeles, where I visited some of my favorite eateries: M Cafe de Chaya, for almond croissants, kale lemonade, and vegan Benedict, Happy Family, for all-you-can-eat vegan Chinese, Babycakes, for cupcakes, Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine, for the best Yemiser Kik Wot anywhere, and Madeleine Bistro, where I had a tasting menu which included their signature Red Beet Tartare and incredible French Lentil Salad. Whew!

While I love a bit of dietary decadence, I'm happy to get back to eating a bit more simply, particularly since I'm nourishing a growing baby.

During my first pregnancy, I took a lengthy hiatus from blogging. I was writing a cookbook, moving across the country at 7 months pregnant, and I felt very private about the whole experience. But while I stayed insular, I scoured the internet for blogs, articles, anything on being vegan and pregnant. It felt like such uncharted territory, and I wanted to learn everything.

This time, I want to share some of what I'm doing, eating, and planning. I'll be eating a mostly raw (and of course, completely vegan) diet, and although I'm very familiar with raw food, it wasn't such a big part of my last pregnancy. The first time, I had been eating high protein for pregnancy, about 100 grams per day (60 is recommended), and had a homebirth with my 9 pound 4 ounce, nearly 22-inch baby. While I'm really proud of that very healthy and strapping child, I'm taking a slightly different nutritional approach this time: focusing on getting an abundance of greens, fruit, and other vitamin-and-mineral-rich foods. Here's what I've been eating lately:

Sunflower Avocado Nori Wraps, packed with mineral-rich greens

Lots and lots of greens. In green smoothies, in gigantic salads, and tucked into everything from soups to the nori wrap above. This is one of my favorite salads, and a great source of vitamin E, iron, and healthy fats:

Joy's Favorite Salad
1 very, very large or 4 regular servings

8-10 cups spring greens
1 cup shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes
a quarter of a red onion, thinly sliced
half an avocado, cubed
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup daikon, alfalfa, or radish sprouts
a few tablespoons Agave Mustard Poppyseed Dressing

In a giant bowl, mound everything over the greens in the order listed, and drizzle with dressing. Eat immediately.

Note: While raw sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins and amino acids, they are not recommended for pregnant women due to the risk of salmonella contamination. I grow my own, and am confident they're safe, but consider forgoing them if you're pregnant.

Green Garden Gazpacho, with fresh pea shoots

Fresh soups. Through the first trimester, all I could stand were heavy, fatty daals and Thai curries. Now, things have lightened up, and I'm gravitating toward raw soups like Pineapple Cucumber Gazpacho and tomato-based blends.

Raw Fetuccine Alfredo, with cashew cream and zucchini noodles

Raw dishes with healthy fats, like Jalapeño Carrot Croquetas, nut-and-seed loaves, and raw crackers topped with avocado. Avocado and young coconuts are my favorite fats, and I include raw almonds, cashews, and chia seeds in our daily Vanilla Milk. I've been partial to pumpkin seeds and hempseeds this week, too.

Vanilla Bean Macaroons, in plain, cacao, and cacao chip

I'm also enjoying lots of fresh fruit and raw sweets. This morning, I made a Caramel Coconut Chia Porridge, which was so good, I ate three bowls of it. I try to bring some kind of raw bar or brownie, as well as a few bananas or dates when I'm out, because healthy foods are often scarce and I sometimes need to eat right away. At home, I'll have a whole watermelon or half a pineapple as a hydrating snack, and I'm really enjoying grapefruit sprinkled with sea salt lately.

I've been doing lots of baking for my family and friends too, so I'll have a few bites of muffin or cookie when they're fresh from the oven. Eating lots of raw food during pregnancy isn't a restrictive thing for me; it's simply about doing whatever makes me feel the most alive, and gives me plenty of energy to chase a toddler and grow a healthy baby.

So far, it's working!


Rachael McClair said...

Always love to hear your ideas, see pictures of your delectable food and experience your passion for food and health :)

VivaciousVegan said...

It is refreshing to see a vegan mom taking extra measures to ensure a healthy baby and indulging in healthy raw good for you food, instead of oreo's and soy milk everyday!!

Maija Haavisto said...

I have a feeling that if even half of pregnant women ate even half as healthily as you, many health problems would be greatly reduced!

Joy said...

Thank you all--it's fantastic to have support for what I'm doing, and I appreciate the kind words. I'm so excited to give this little one the best start in life!

Ken & Crystal Pierson said...

love that your first "vegan pregnancy" baby was over 9 lbs! Good job!

Joy said...

ahaha, thanks Crystal! I was really proud of that too!